Making clean mark roundings during a sailboat race can spell the difference between maintaining a lead and losing a pack of boats. Many of us are focused on gaining an advantage in a race to stay ahead or to catch boats. Having a bad mark rounding can really cost you, gain or add to your lead.
In this short video, Champion sailor Peter Vaiciurgis, from NS14.org, shares his thoughts on Mark Roundings.
- Keep up your speed
- Position, position, position
Before the start, wide movements of the rudder can be effective.
After the start, Peter tries not to move his tiller more than 4 inches.
As the boat moves faster, smaller movements of the rudder can make a big difference. Consider riding a bike. If you’re going slower, you can turn faster with bigger movements of the handle bars. However, if you’re flying down a hill, then bigger movements of the handle bars can spell disaster.
Steering the boat
- Sails – Primary
- Hull – Secondary
- Rudder – Last, too often the rudder can turn into a brake, if used aggressively.
Making the Turn
Tight – Tight: NO. Slow. Lets other boats round with more speed and pass you.
Tight – Wide: NO. Lose height on course and leave room for other boats to round above you.
Wide – Tight: YES. Gentle turn. Maintain maximum speed. Full speed and sheets tight when the buoy is in line with the skipper’s back.
Tight – Wide: Entering tight means that you’ve sailed less distance.
Depends on your position regarding other boats.
Nobody close: Wide – Wide.
Boats behind and want to go high after mark: Wide – Tight and high.
Boats behind and want to go low after mark: Tight – Wide.
Anticipate where you want to be at the mark before you get close to it. Focus on how you will exit the mark – speed and position relative to other boats. In one-design boats, typically sailors anticipate positioning way early in the leg.